Abstract Four replicates of 50 field-collected Lymnaea tomentosa were maintained in two laboratory culture systems and their efficiency and practicability for the production of Fasciola hepatica metacercariae were assessed. There was no significant difference in the total number of metacercariae produced (56 552 from 64 snails in the closed container system and 54 073 from 82 snails in the shallow aquarium system). There was no significant difference between culture systems as assessed by snail survival, the number of infected snails or the number of infected snails harvested for the recovery of metacercariae. Within both systems there was a significant effect of snail size on the number of metacercariae produced. Optimum survival and production of metacercariae was achieved in young adult snails of 5–8 mm shell length at the time of infection. The collection of L. tomentosa from the field habitat and their maintenance in either culture system was shown to be a practical alternative to the breeding of laboratory adapted strains of L. tomentosa for the regular production of large numbers of F. hepatica metacercariae.